Corner of What and Ever: The Writer’s Block

Been on a resolution kick to up the blog, but stumped. Have a few things in draft but nothing ready to publish. And I’m already feeling some burn out, can’t get how those who crank out posts every day. I can hear your eyes rolling from here: What. EVER.

What’s my problem? Take your pick.

Shorter blogs are supposed to be the thing, unless it’s an epically, ironically long guest post. I try to do 250-word gems. Does. Not. Happen. My wit is wordy.

I have a style. I try to bring funny, to make the educational less tedious, the informative, not boring as hell. But considering some of the dialogue on some of my lesser TV choices these days, I ain’t sweating that anymore.

I overthink my audience, my blog SEO. Trying to keep it small business, Atlanta, marketing, PR.. all “hire me” and “aren’t I smart” subliminal messages designed to lead me to world domination, pressure of my content marketing strategy.

So it gets forced, not fun. Which is the sign to stop.

Stop. Drop. Roll with it.

I’ve blogged about ways to spark creativity before and it all comes down to this: inspiration can come from anyone, anywhere, anytime.

  • Write something else: a poem or a word game may lead you to shorter, tighter, funner blog posts.
  • Read a book. Read nothing. Watch something or nothing. Play on Twitter, then steal someone else’s idea.
  • Unplug or walk away, put your inner smartphone douchebag or Internet junkie on hold and act like a person for an hour.
  • Listen to strummy, emo alt rock. Watch some kitten porn. I hear talk of games on Facebook, try that.
  • When desperate I’ll clean, do laundry. Cleaning out the clutter around the house, sometimes clears the cobwebs in my head.

When that doesn’t work I just start typing, see what pours out of my fingers. Typer’s block is one thing I don’t have. What do you do?

Photo credit: I miss Calvin and Hobbes, still have half a dozen books.

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19 thoughts on “Corner of What and Ever: The Writer’s Block

    1. Or I’ve lost sight of what I “think” my readers want, John. We’re supposed to write what we know, write for ourselves, write for SEO and content, write for the audience of readers we have AND those we want, in my case potential clients too. Do my readers want it all, with mirth and pithy comedy? Probably me wanting to deliver, adding the pressure. And the block. Thanks for your two pennies.

  1. Even when you’re suffering from ‘the block’ you write stuff that makes me smile Davina. Seriously, you’re a trip. As for me and finding inspiration, here’s a quick list:

    Exercise one hour a day
    Sauna every day
    Play with my kids often and pay attention to ‘the little things’
    Look at every conversation I have with someone about business or marketing or whatever as a great article opportunity
    Think of any experience that has taught me any lesson during my entire life
    Start thinking like a consumer, not a business owner
    Live what you preach..and then preach (via your blog) what you live.

    I could go on and on, but we’ll all get bored soon. 😉

    Marcus Sheridan-The Sales Lion recently posted..Learning to Let Go and Live In-Spirit- A Personal Story from The Sales Lion

    1. Marcus, “Think like a consumer” is IT. What I always write about: don’t focus on YOU, it’s about THEM, the audience, the readers, the potential clients. I do look at things and think “how could I blog this?” but never stop to write it down. Guess I should look into dictating or something after all. Thanks.

  2. Davina, I didn’t count, but this doesn’t look much more than 250 to me :). My cure-all when the words won’t come? wait until the very… last… second before deadline. That mix of desperation and adrenaline works for me every single time.

  3. Hi Davina
    I know what you mean, I know exactly what you mean.

    “I have a style. I try to bring funny, to make the educational less tedious”
    That’s a great way of looking at writing.

    If I’m looking for ideas I go for a walk and the oideas just happen.
    The exercise seems to get things moving.

    Don’t know if I could cope with a post a day though.
    Keith Davis recently posted..Speech Writing… the Marcus Method

    1. Keith, So that’s another vote for exercise. Mine is still cleaning.. not that I’m a neat freak at all.. but clearing the physical clutter, focusing on other jobs does free my mind. Or at least keeps the laundry from piling up on me. 😉

      The point of my blog is to inform and educate, share information about PR and social media with small business owners and other marketing professionals. Yet I don’t want to bore readers w/ just a dump of facts and figures, so “humor” it is. And ITA on not posting daily; for me, less IS more. Thanks.

        1. Heh. The dust does hit a saturation point where it’s impossible and pointless to clean, but for me it’s the clutter.. piles everywhere, no where to put it. The laundry gets washed yet doesn’t always make it back to the closet and drawers all neatly folded. As for the walk, in the spring.. just too cold for this wimpy Southern girl.

  4. The best writing advice I ever read came from Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way. There are two “tools” every artist must use, and they are: The Morning Pages, and the Artist Date.

    The Morning Pages – you wake up, shut off the alarm, and immediately start writing 3 pages, longhand, no stopping. You have to do them right when you wake up because it’s before your analytical mind wakes up, and it helps the creativity flow uninterrupted. It’s a brain dump and YES, you can write “I don’t know what to write” over and over if it helps. Because usually at some point you start getting ideas!

    The Artist Date – this is a weekly thing. The idea behind this one is that you take your inner “artist child” on a truly fun adventure. The way to think of your “artist child” is the child of a divorced parent that you don’t see very often – so you want to make that visit special. And, it has to appeal to a child – so no boring errands. What you get out of the artist date is a re-stocking of the pond of images to use in your art.

    Fruity, but whenever I’m stuck, I do one or the other, and I really get somewhere.
    Jenn Whinnem recently posted..jennwhinnem- @vivassistants Im hooked on some of the plug-ins- thats what gets me

    1. Jenn, I don’t do mornings. 😉

      Seriously I’m a night owl and would be better off doing the brain dump as I lie in bed trying to shut the brain off to get some sleep. I keep thinking I need a dictaphone or something that could transcribe all the thoughts that pop in and out of my head. But then I’d never get to sleep.

      Love the Artist’s Date, making that time for yourself to stimulate the creative side of the brain. I keep an idea box of files.. pretty ads, brochures. I read my favorite writers or just anything that strikes my fancy as interesting and well written.

      My only thing with both of these great suggestions – THANKS – is keeping it on point, bringing the “whatever comes out” back to the topic and purpose of this blog. I love dovetailing interest posts, did sort of a movie review of The Blind Side as a post once. Danny Brown did a great job of it today, of using the variety of the iPod mix as a starting point for his business blog.

      I could write forever, my late night rambles about a TV show I love/hate/cannot believe I still watch. I could probably write about a museum trip or a ball game fairly quickly. Making it about marketing, making it about PR and relevant and valuable to the audience I have and the audience I want, that’s the trick.

  5. Hi Davina,

    You’re right – inspiration can come from anywhere. Exercising hard to blaring music (like the theme from Rocky – You ain’t so bad! You ain’t so bad! LOL) always clears my head – even when I’ve had the cruddiest of days. For some reason everything becomes clear and occassionally I’ll have an epiphany that I hope to heck I can remember after I get out of my spinning class. Exercising – for me anyway – never fails. That or a GOOD glass of wine ;-).

    I enjoy your posts – and your sense of humor!

    1. Allison, When the weather is nice enough I will grab the iPod and take an afternoon stroll but generally the thought of exercise makes me want a nap. 😉 Now a good glass of wine – Margarita with the cheese dip – works. Music, TV, cleaning your house.. anything to get your mind off of that blank computer screen might help, take you in new directions. Thanks so much for the comment.

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